From the Archives

The photos say it all

What is Status Asthmaticus? Lucky me, on July 23th 2014, I survived my 115th hospital admission and 20th intubation for asthma. I didn't think I was that sick, but apparently I was.

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6 times a day

I had planned to write a post about my nebulizer treatment routine, but then I thought what the heck... I'll just video it! The point Im trying to make in the clip, is that the daily nebbing routine for many of us is a lot more time consuming than one ...

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For the 112th time

Gee I haven't written about a good ole hospital admission for quite sometime. Since I just completed my 112th, maybe now's a good time. The theme for this latest admission is fun with steroid psychosis and why IV fluids should always be monitored closely. The fun begins The trigger to the flare leading ...

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Do you know when it's time to go in?

The idea for this post came to me during the middle a recent severe exacerbation. Actually, it was the same exacerbation that put me in the hospital for 12 days, for which I am still recovering. Foremost on my mind during an asthma excerbation is the question....how bad will ...

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Recovering Albuter-holic

Rick, the author of the Respiratory Therapy Cave , wrote to me the other day talking about what it was like growing up with severe asthma. One of the things he mentioned that I thought was kinda funny, was how he used to sleep with an inhaler ...

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The not so glamorous side of being a severely asthmatic marathon walker

Yeah, I made it to Boston , Ive walked the Rome and Portland marathons a couple times, and yeah Ive been written up in lots of walk magazines and medical journals, but I think a lot of people who hear about me or read my blog, assume that ...

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The Recovery phases of a severe asthma exacerbation

Suffice it to say, I wasn't exactly a happy camper when I wrote that Dr W helped me get through this awful time by reassuring me that what anguish I was experiencing was a normal response after suffering such a severe flare up, and that my complaints were ...

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Not just Asthma, Severe Asthma!

Not to downplay the heartache and suffering that people with milder forms of asthma have to sometimes contend with; obviously it's a big deal when you can't breath, but the healthcare establishment needs to stop lumping all asthmatics together under the same general heading of "asthma".This is a problem because ...

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Asthma Purgatory

Whenever the weather is bad, so is my asthma. My lungs are extremely sensitive to humidity in the air and/or the slightest changes in barometric changes. Changes in the climate, changes in the seasons, you name it.... my lungs will react to it. I'm a walking weather ...

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O2 sats and asthma attacks revisited

After 9 years of blogging about life with severe asthma, I still get a lot of traffic from people searching the web for specific information about O2 saturation and how it relates to asthma or the severity of an asthma attack. So for those who might have missed my earlier ...

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Venous Access Port ( VAP)

After an estimated 104 hospital admissions for asthma and probably 10 times that number of IV sticks, I have no peripheral venous access left. A half a century of IV steroids has rendered my veins useless. The only place they can get lines in, are in my knuckles and toes. ...

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Double Whammy Asthma

I often find it frustrating that here I am, a life long asthmatic, a Respiratory therapist and an asthma educator, yet still unable in normal conversation, to describe what makes my type of asthma so different from others. When asked to define asthma in general, I usually give the ...

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Just another week in the life of a hardcore asthmatic

I usually don't post about my hospital experiences because its not a subject I like to re-live. Its an unwanted , terrifying , but necessary part of my life. When it happens , I just try to get through it and then I try to blank it out ...

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Buried Alive

The photo is from the movie "Awake", but what happened to me last September was not fiction.. It was the real deal! Back on Sept 20th of 2010, I was admitted to the hospital for a severe asthma exacerbation(so what else is new). About 8 hours into the exacerbation, my ...

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Asthma guilt trip

How many times have you had a really bad asthma flare, but had serious trepidations about going to the emergency room for treatment? How many times have you felt guilty that maybe you weren't sick enough to be admitted to the hospital? Well, that's pretty much been the ...

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Questions for Dr. Wenzel

Last week after finding out just how damaged my lungs really are, the only thing going through my head was..WHY? All of the assumptions I had made about my asthma throughout the years, suddenly didn't seem to make sense anymore. I was beginning to wonder if I really ever ...

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Propofol

Propofol

This is a picture of me on a ventilator last year during a severe asthma exacerbation ( what they call status asthmaticus). See the little IV bottle inside the blue rectangle with the milky looking stuff inside ? That's Propofol ! Also known as ...

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15 months Intubation Free!

It feels good to brag about something positive for a change. This week marks 15 whole months since Ive had to have a tube shoved down my windpipe in order to breath. Ive had zero, what I would call "critical condition" type hospitalizations in that time period as well. Granted, ...

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My Trip to Churchill

My journey begins in Winnipeg (my very first time crossing the Canadian border). Just 2 days earlier there had been a pretty bad snow storm and potential weather delays at the airport were a big concern.Fortunately things worked out and I got there on time without any problems. ...

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Racewalking for Science

As part of the Shortness of breath self-Management research study that I'm involved in over at UCSF, every 3 months I have to go into the lab where they check my PFTs and then have me do a series of physical fitness exercises. Sometimes they have me get ...

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Asthma obits Google images
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Survivors Guilt

Every time I hear about someone who died from asthma, especially when it’s a child, I can’t help but feel just a little guilty for living as long as I have. Despite having one of the lowest asthma mortality rates in the world, 3500-4000 people still die from asthma each year in the United States, […]

May 9, 2014 2
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The positives

Even though it sucks living with severe asthma, things could be worse.. much worse. I’m fortunate on so many fronts. I tend to post a lot about the negatives, so here are a few positives: * Despite more than 100 hospitalizations and some close calls with this disease, Ive managed to survive 59 years and […]

April 28, 2014 4
Asthma_comorbidities
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Secondary conditions

No doubt most asthmatics have at one time or another, dealt with some of the nasty side effects associated with steroids, such as high blood sugars, adrenal problems, osteoporosis, etc. But you may not be aware that there are also secondary conditions that can develop down the road as a result of the disease itself. […]

April 10, 2014 3
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SARP Newsletter

The Severe Asthma Research Program’s first Newsletter. Well worth reading! A Breath of Fresh Air Related Posts:A SARP’in we will go…….23rd time’s a charmPFTs Du Jour Self Observations: Severe Asthma and Endurance walkingTraining update Aug 2014The photos say it all

March 19, 2014 0
anxiety
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The “A” word

Im talking about the other A word…. ANXIETY As a Respiratory Therapist and a lifelong asthmatic, I know all too well that anxiety and breathlessness usually go hand in hand. Still, I often catch myself getting a little defensive when a medical person abruptly brings up the A word and asthma in the same sentence, […]

March 7, 2014 14
Dr Wenzel and I
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SARP III complete

Well, almost. The study actually lasts for 3 years, but the bulk of the testing can usually be completed in 4 half day visits. After that, it’s annual follow ups and the occasional online questionnaire. Because I had a separate clinic appointment with Dr Wenzel, and because there has to be a 3 week space […]

February 21, 2014 1
Hosp 10-2013
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Not just Asthma, Severe Asthma!

Not to downplay the heartache and suffering that people with milder forms of asthma have to sometimes contend with; obviously it’s a big deal when you can’t breath, but the healthcare establishment needs to stop lumping all asthmatics together under the same general heading of “asthma”.This is a problem because severe asthma is not the […]

February 16, 2014 2
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Self observations : Steriod insomnia

For probably the first time in 50 years of cycling on and off of steroids, it came to me in a flash last night, that the reason I can’t sleep when on steroids, is not because I have too much steroid in me, but rather not enough. For the past 14 days Ive been in […]

February 12, 2014 0
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Lung Art

I thought this was so clever. A few months ago a good friend of mine from Toronto, asked me if I could she use one of the images I had of some mast cells and lung tissue that was collected from my airways during an earlier bronchoscopy. She was going to somehow use them for […]

January 9, 2014 1
January 4, 2014 1
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Prednisone Skin

Just one of the many joys of taking prednisone. I know chronic steroid use can cause paper thin skin ( what we call “crepe paper” skin in the biz), which then makes you more susceptible to spontaneous bruising, but Ive noticed lately that if I brush up against almost any surface, no matter how gently, […]

November 15, 2013 9
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UMPC Asthma Support Group

Starting this month and every month going forward, I’ll be posting the minutes from the UMPC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Severe Asthma Support Group conference calls. The calls are sponsored by the Asthma Institute at UMPC and moderated by Dr Sally Wenzel Pulmonologist and Deborah A. Gillman PhD, Clinical Psychologist. If you have difficult […]

November 6, 2013 0
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For the 112th time

Gee I haven’t written about a good ole hospital admission for quite sometime. Since I just completed my 112th, maybe now’s a good time. The theme for this latest admission is fun with steroid psychosis and why IV fluids should always be monitored closely. The fun begins The trigger to the flare leading up to […]

October 23, 2013 6
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